Best of Utah 2016 | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah 2016 

Get Schooled

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Best Blast from the Past Photo Supplies
Acme Camera Co.
In the age of high-tech optics in cell phone cameras and an abundance of mass-market DSLRs, many photography enthusiasts and casual shooters assume that analog photography is dead and buried. But walk into Acme Camera Co.'s Sugar House shop and be surprised, because film has been making a major comeback over the past few years, especially with younger digital-native photographers "discovering" the medium for the first time. Acme's displays are stocked with an array of old-school classic cameras, including instant-film Land cameras, rangefinders and SLRs, though their inventory changes regularly with new and used gear flowing in and out. Not sure if you want to dive into the world of film? You can rent a camera and grab a roll of film from their back fridge to test the waters. And their staff on hand is always willing to help out. (SA)
1991 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 385-229-4077, AcmeCameraRental.com

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Best "Fucked up Place to Get Some Shit"
Raunch Records
"It's a motto we try to do right by, though sometimes I screw up and get good shit," owner Brad Collins says. A stalwart of Salt Lake City's punk scene, Collins originally started Raunch out of his apartment in 1983. After roughly 15 years serving the community, Raunch closed only to reopen 12 years later in its current Sugar House location—a shop that feels like the inside of a Tom Waits junk drawer. Raunch has become a hodge-podge of a record shop, now selling skateboards, clothing, candy, toys and other knick-knacks. It oozes whatever the underbelly of the Salt Lake City counterculture produces to digest the contents of its high-salinity diet. (WP)
1119 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6077

Best Feminist Gathering
SlutWalk's "The Walk of No Shame"
This past Sept. 24, I participated in SlutWalk's "The Walk of No Shame"—part of an international movement protesting rape culture and victim-blaming in response to a police officer's viral 2011 comment that women should "avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." This was the sixth year of the walk, and one of the biggest turnouts, for obvious reasons. "We want people to be aware that we can change this toxic form of thinking that leads to bad policy-making, that leads to rapists and abusers being let off the hook and not being prosecuted, like in the Brock Turner case," says Rachel Jensen, director of this year's event. The empowerment you feel when you participate in an event like this is hard to put into words. It brought me to tears on several occasions, but the most moving part was after the walk, toward the end of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's speech, when she put down her notecards and the crowd got quiet as she told the story of her own assault. "I know what this is like, and I'm here to tell you we are in this together," she said to a shocked, teary-eyed crowd. "We will not be ashamed, and we will stand up, and we will demand justice." (AH)
Facebook.com/SlutwalkSLC

Best Ominous Light Display
111 S. Main, Salt Lake City
Reaching 24 stories into the sky, the new citadel at the crux of Salt Lake City first appeared to onlookers as a benevolent giant, perhaps sent from the heavens to protect the flock from duplicitous outsiders. But as sun gave way to moon one night in September, onlookers trembled in horror at the beast's crown, which had become irradiated with all the most lecherous pigments of the color wheel. Thus far, anxious denizens are left to speculate its meaning. Is it a harbinger of leaner times? A forewarning of new enemies? Why is it sometimes green, and then other times red? Reveal your intentions, oh cryptic colossus of the clouds, or face the judgment of God! (RC)

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Best Gangster Rap Namaste
Scholé Yoga
You want to like yoga. You really do. But maybe brightly lit studios and Dido-esque music aren't your style. Scholé Yoga reshapes the stereotypical yoga environment, holding their Refresh, Strong and Deep classes in dim lighting with the heat cranked up. Here, there are no mirrors to judge you and instructors lead classes step by step through repetitive poses that participants can deviate from or move through at their own pace. From rap and hip-hop to French electro-pop and indie rock, each instructor customizes their class soundtracks, so you'll never hear the same song twice. (SA)
824 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 435-200-5265, ScholeYoga.com

Best Spot to Become an Undercover Anarchist
The SLCC Community Writing Center
Surprised that a nonprofit extension of Salt Lake Community College would win this award? Nowhere in the nation are the pedagogies and philosophies of radical education theorist Paulo Freire more alive than at the SLCC Community Writing Center. The top-down educational model of approaching learning and knowledge as co-created and existing only through an equal power balance between teacher and learner, has been the trademark of the Community Writing Center since Salt Lake Super Scholar Tiffany Rousculp, with the help of others, founded it in 2001. It's infiltrated marginalized communities of Salt Lake City to share the power of writing and literacy to regain the agency often stripped of them by class, racial, gender and ability barriers for so long. (WP)
210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-957-2192, SLCC.edu/CWC

Best Pooch Primping
Fur 'R' We
So, you adopted a furry best friend that looked adorable at the rescue fair. But six weeks later, the cute haircut has grown out, and you're dealing with a shaggy dog. Face it: You need to have a pet groomer on speed dial. The pros at Fur 'R' We are just the folks to pamper pups (and kitties). Operating since 1994, they offer shampooing, show grooming, hand-scissored haircuts and shave downs. In addition, they provide nail clipping, dremeling, ear plucking and cleaning. No matter your pet's disposition, Fur 'R' We knows how to calm your pet down and have them looking (and smelling) like a movie star in no time. (JW)
1873 Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, 801-942-7979, FurRWe.com

Best Activism for Those Behind Bars
Utah Prisoner Advocate Network
While there have been worthy attempts in the past to organize relatives of the incarcerated and their sympathizers and prison activists, the Utah Prison Advocacy Network (U-PAN) founded in 2012 by therapist Molly Prince and Heather Fabian has become a remarkably assured and powerful voice in just a few years for reform and accountability in Utah's penal system. They send out a monthly newsletter full of information, hold monthly meetings with speakers—such as ACLU's Anna Brower keeping them abreast of developments in key issues impacting the incarcerated—and doggedly pursue issues that matter to those behind bars and their loved ones. And that includes issues few take into account, such as outpatient sex-offender treatment. In a state where the rights of the incarcerated register with few, U-PAN ensures that their relatives remain informed, and those who run and are responsible for the prison know that they are watching. (SD)
UtahPrisonerAdvocate.org

Best Beard Care
A Blissful Whirl
Call them trendy, call them a hipster fashion statement, but you can't pretend they're not there: Beards are everywhere. And you wouldn't just leave the rest of the hair on your head alone and hope for the best, right? Orem-based Lee Shumway has created a range of personal-care products, including lotions and solid perfumes, but take a special look at items for that manly chin-mane. Thanks to handmade products like Citrus Cedar Beard Oil to Musk & Myrrh Beard Balm to coconut milk Beard Bar, and even the Blissful Beard Brush, your facial follicles will never be happier. (SR)
Etsy.com/Shop/ABlissfulWhirl

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Best Analog Stunt Toy
Raging Wheels
Remember a time when kids played with toys with no batteries or screens, and which didn't break the first time you used them? Not very many of us can, but the St. George-based Raging Wheels has come up with a nigh-indestructible plastic car that requires nothing more than a launching stick and a flip of the wrist to send it rocketing down the street to ramp-jumping glory, or begin a race between two fierce rivals. It's a kind of retro fun that makes the great outdoors for kid play great again. (SR)
208-961-0760, RagingWheels.com

Best Custom Bling
9th & 9th Jewelers
The wedding industry in Utah is big, and if you've ever had to wade through the overwhelming sea that is engagement and wedding ring shopping, you know the struggle of trying to find something special. Everything looks the same, everything's too expensive, your partner sees photos they like on Pinterest but nothing similar can be found in real life. Enter: Joe Maughan of 9th & 9th Jewelers. Walk into his shop at nearly any time of day to find him tinkering with some trinket or other at his craftsman table. He creates customers' dream bling working with them every step of the way, from initial design to gem and metal selection to final cast (he'll provide a 3D-printed plastic mold for your inspection and approval). Don't lose hope: The perfect ring is out there, it just might not exist yet. (SA)
872 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-6026, 9thAnd9thJewelers.com

Best Place to Stash Your Ride
Diamond Airport Parking
Getting to the airport can be a conundrum. A cab ride from downtown SLC to the airport will set you back around $30 with a tip. But then along comes Uber and Lyft, and a ride to the airport seems more fun and cheaper. But with upgrades and booking fees, maybe not greatly cheaper. And then there's the lovely public option known as Trax that can't always get you door to door. Guess what, Diamond Airport Parking has survived all these onslaughts because, at $5.99 per day (the current coupon rate for the North Temple lot), it is still cheaper and more convenient to park and ride, especially if you're only going away for the weekend. Friendly drivers hustle your bags on and off the van with such promptness, you'll feel like a VIP. And you can wash your car for free. (JW)
50 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City; 1969 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7275, DiamondAirportParking.com

Best Pet-Support Condiments
Yardbarkin
It's always a challenge to turn personal recipes into a small-batch business; it helps with the mission focus if that business has a cause as one of its reasons to exist. Proud pet-owners Deb Nahvi and Mindi Bridges have created a variety of hot sauces—combining tropical fruit flavors with habanero, Anaheim and jalapeño peppers—with rich and complex flavors for fans of spicing up their meals. But they've also dedicated a portion of all proceeds to animal-rescue organizations like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary. When your eyes are watering, at least a little will be from the emotion of doing a good deed. (SR)
801-865-2954, Yardbarkin.com

Best Love for Endangered Pets
Purple Paws program by Nuzzles & Co.
Talk to domestic-violence survivors and many will tell you they put off leaving their abuser to protect their pets, which are often a target for abusers to inflict pain and exercise further control. Many domestic abuse shelters, already painfully strapped for cash and space, don't have the space to house animals. Park City-based rescue and pet shelter Nuzzles & Co. Rescue Ranch and Adoption Center saw a way of removing that barrier to safety for women and their children by providing care for their pets. Nuzzles' president Kathleen Toth says that their Purple Paws program has helped 130 families fleeing abuse by housing their animals and providing in addition not only medical care but "vaccinations, socialization and TLC," Toth says. In the face of Utah's above-national-average annual rate of DV murders, the fate of a pet might seem not so obvious a focus for concern, but as Toth and her colleagues know, it can mean life or death for their owners. (SD)
6699 N. Landmark Drive, Ste. B-103C, Park City, 435-649-6808, NuzzlesAndCo.org

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Best Last Resort
Bubba for President at Eborn Books
Along with being a treasure trove of new, rare and first-edition books, Eborn Books holds a kaleidoscope of odds and ends in its inventory. Case in point: the Bubba for President plush available for purchase (sans batteries) for $15. Released as an alternative to the 2000 presidential candidates, the wise-crackin' bear comes loaded with phrases like "Did I say that?," "What I said is not what you heard," "If elected, I promise to make more promises" and "Read my lips ... oops, I have none!" To recap, we now live in a world where a 16-year-old novelty toy is more charismatic than the alternative. (EL)
254 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-0460

Best Season Ski Rental for Kids
SportsDen
The SportsDen has been peddling awesome outdoor gear and serving up some of the most sound expertise about skiing in the Wasatch since 1972. The sport has changed a bit during those 44 years, if for no other reason than the high cost of hitting the slopes prevents a lot of normal folks from doing so. This is especially true for families. The SportsDen, though, has a solution. For $100, a child can get into new skis, boots and poles for the entire season. This affordable rental circumvents the need to buy expensive equipment each year as children grow, and leaves more money in dad's pocket for beer as kiddo slides downhill. (CF)
1350 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5611, SportsDen.com

Best Way to Ride a Roller Coaster in Downtown SLC
Virtualities
In the 21st century, entertainment has become far more than a passive experience. Ryan Burningham has launched the first dedicated virtual-reality cinema and arcade in the U.S., with a variety of experiences to match visitor preferences. Put on the goggles to sit in a chair and experience a haunted house, or ride a rollercoaster where you can actually feel the g-force. Or pull out a virtual sword and battle zombies (or fight a space battle) in the arcade. Or just watch the customers have their experiences, which can be nearly as entertaining. (SR)
The Gateway Mall, 86 S. Rio Grande St., upper level, 385-355-1997, Virtualities.co

Best In-Your-Face DV Campaign
Utah 1 in 3
The striking, somber image of three women, one with an airbrushed hand on her face, dominated billboards this past summer. The campaign by the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition highlighted the statistic that 1 in 3 women in Utah experience domestic violence. DV is a topic rarely talked about in a state where so many public and private pressures combine to protect men and their patriarchal power, at the expense of the safety of women and children. The campaign, advocates say, proved a great launching pad for conversations among survivors, community members, faith leaders and policymakers about how Utah must do much more to address the domestic violence in its homes. (SD)
124 S. 400 East, Ste. 300, 801-521-5544, UDVC.org

Best Conversations Laced With Music
The Yellow Stereo
KRCL has had their fair share of talk-and-music programming over the years, but none more in-depth and fun with their guests than Tuesday nights during The Yellow Stereo. P.J. Guinto guides listeners through the evening with music hand-picked by his guests, who range from the insanely knowledgeable of music to the geekiest of the geeks. They're playing their favorite tunes and having the kind of talks you'd have around fire with beers and the radio on. (GS)
Tuesdays, 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m., 90.9 FM, KRCL.org

The Best Place to Start Up that Startup
Impact Hub
All it really takes to start a business today is an innovative idea, a computer and an internet connection—but it doesn't hurt to set up shop in a hip space with several like-minded business owners. Impact Hub Salt Lake specializes in renting out affordable office space to small, tech-based businesses and helping them get the resources and networking that they need to succeed. Its flexible membership plans are designed to fit within a small company's budget, and they've already helped hundreds of startups get off the ground. (AS)
150 S. State, Salt Lake City, 385-202-6008, SaltLake.ImpactHub.net

Best Family Tradition Launcher
Blickenstaff's Traditions in a Box
In 2014, Provo toy store Blickenstaff's sought to create a way for families to make special occasions even more meaningful, by creating activities that could be enjoyed together. The result was Traditions in a Box, six conveniently packaged activity sets that can turn Halloween into a chance to learn about family history, or transform a one-day birthday into a two-week celebratory countdown, or make a time capsule out of the beginning of a new school year. The games, crafts and other fun bits and pieces create more special days, and make already-special days ones that are shared with even more purpose. (SR)
4801 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-426-9300, Blickenstaffs.com

Best Confounding Film Critique Made by an LDS Higher-Up
Garrett W. Gong on Pirates of the Caribbean
When a YouTuber under the name "Mormon Leaks" uploaded segments of videos that captured private LDS meetings, the faithful cringed (probably) while the rest gleefully watched and waited for the good parts (definitely). Alas or not to worry, the footage wasn't damning but damn boring and mostly stuff we already knew or would have expected. Burrowed in the videos are quirky or interesting nuggets, however. In Presidency of the Seventy member Garrett W. Gong's take-down of high-sea plunderers, he inserts a clip from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean to highlight the glorification of pirates in pop culture, a liberal take on the 2003 Johnny Depp blockbuster megahit. "Though meant in fun," Gong says, "[Depp's character] Captain Jack makes pirating appear good and traditional authority appear silly." Sure, Elder. He's making authority appear silly. (DWH)

Best Sole Salvation
Podiatrist Elizabeth Auger
Our feet take a beating our whole lives, supporting our weight, enduring bad shoes, kicking the occasional ass and even going along with that silly half-marathon idea you had. So be kind to those puppies. If they cry out in pain, get them looked at. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, an ingrown toenail or even a disturbing fungus, go see Dr. Elizabeth Auger. With 17 years of experience and offices across Salt Lake Valley, she's not afraid to look at your sole. She is, in fact, capable, sympathetic, kind and non-judgmental. (JW)
Multiple locations, 801-619-2170, SLCPodiatrist.com

Best Distraction from the Morning Grind
KRCL's The Good Morning Show with Ebay Jamil Hamilton
I had no idea that "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen was exactly the right song to get me psyched up for another day at work until I heard it on The Good Morning Show. KRCL's Ebay Jamil Hamilton is totally in sync with how I feel during my morning commute, and his music selections have gone on to inspire the Spotify playlists that get me through my workday. He rounds up all kinds of great tunes that wouldn't occur to me as morning music until I hear them through my car stereo system as the city starts to wake up around me. (AS)
Weekdays, 8-11a.m., 90.9 FM, KRCL.org

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Best Way of Sticking It to the Man—Literally
Trump blow-up sex doll
Listen, we were all a little browbeaten on Election Night. It turns out the Mayans were wrong, and the end of civilization is actually Friday, Jan. 20. People have pent-up anger, I know, and venting on Facebook starts losing its magic the 27th time around. So, why not pound your sorrows away with the "Donald Chump" love doll ($47.99) available at the Sugar House Blue Boutique? "He screwed up politics, now you can screw him back!" the box—which includes a cut-out "Great Wall of Chump"—reads. The contents are even more frightening: plastic Trumpy, in all his Technicolor, shiny glory. Before grabbing him by the blow spout, the salesperson warns me, "Just so you know, these are non-refundable, even in Trump's America." She pauses, "So you're stuck with him either way." The things I do for my job. Hold on, I'm getting reimbursed for this, right? If not, this issue was rigged. (EL)
1383 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2072, BlueBoutique.com

Best Year-Round Arbor Day Apparel
HipStitch
For many of us, our buying choices are increasingly becoming a way to express our values; we want products that come from sustainable sources, or represent a smaller carbon footprint. Conner Snyder has taken that notion a step further: For every HipStitch T-shirt sold, they'll plant a tree. Initial designs feature the company logo in a variety of colors, or eye-catching graphics with progressive messages. Watch for the winter line—scheduled to add hoodies, sweatpants and more to the options—and build a forest while building your wardrobe. (SR)
HipStitchClothing.com

Best Restaurant Blog
Cucina Toscana
A lot of restaurants have blog pages on their websites. Very few are kept current. The practice seems to be to write a few times in the early going, then the blogs get overrun with dust and cobwebs. Years go by without updates. (We could name names ...) The folks at Cucina Toscana not only keep their blog up-to-date, but it's chock-full of really useful information and advice. For example, Italian preservation methods was the topic for a recent post aimed at getting the most from your summertime and fall garden harvests. A primer on cooking Italian meats with wine is enlightening, as is "A Brief History of Italian Cuisine in America." Good job, Toscana bloggers. (TS)
282 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-328-3463, ToscanaSLC.com

Best Vintage Greetings
Discount greetings cards at TP Gallery
After a near four-year stint at a paper like this one in New Mexico, I breathed a sigh of relief to be changing environs 180 degrees. Just my luck that City Weekly's neighbor ended up being a Southwest retailer. Fine, I'll admit that seeing the Zia symbol on their window as I was first walking into 248 S. Main made me feel right at home. Along with fine-art prints, silver jewelry, concho belts and kachina dolls, TP has a discount table with a bounty of deals featuring calendars from years past, $5 CDs (including one titled Santa Fe Sampler ... yes!), and a host of vintage, pre-PC greeting cards at just .25 cents each. One gem equates turning 40 with passing gas, given that "You can try to keep it quiet, but the people closest to you always know!," while another asks four burning questions in regards to turning the big 3-O: "How's it feel?"; "What's it like being 30?"; "Does 30 feel old?"; "Was it really tough to turn the big 3-O?" The "appropriate" responses? 1) Bite me! 2) Get bent! 3) Kiss my butt! and Stuff it, jerkface!! (EL)
252 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-2961, EBornBooks.com

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Best Place to Break Down Utahns' Social Barriers
Salt Lake Comic Con
For all its razzle-dazzle of endless booths and actors hawking signatures and photo ops, the greatest pleasure of twice-yearly Comic Con is how it builds bridges of communication in a city where people are notoriously uncomfortable with even saying good morning. Perhaps it's the opportunity to wax lyrical over someone's costume—a blonde haired, mature woman riffing on Hitchcock's The Birds in a coat festooned with evil crows, was a particular stand-out in the September 2016 con—or simply the chance to converse with strangers over film posters or favorite comics, but Comic Con brings that rare burst of fresh air into Salt Lake's often cramped, restricted social mores. (SD)
SaltLakeComicCon.com

Best Special-Needs Travel Planning
WinB Travel
If it seems as though the 21st century has made the role of the travel agent obsolete, you might not be thinking of it from the perspective of those whose travel planning doesn't fit in a one-size-fits-all box—seniors, multi-generational families trying to travel together, people with disabilities or those with service animals. West Bountiful's Winifred Barrett has dedicated her travel agency to asking and answering all the right questions for anyone who needs a specialized experience—and even those who don't—to ensure that a beautiful vacation experience can be had by anyone and everyone. (SR)
801-209-3438, WinBTravel.com

Best Sounds of Summer
Bingham Canyon Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast
The Lions' Club annual breakfast in Copperton every Independence Day is not simply an opportunity for the survivors of long-gone but far-from-forgotten Bingham Canyon to gather over eggs and pancakes and stories. It's also about celebrating the future of Copperton, whether through fund-raising for Lions' local charity efforts or reveling in the joy of neighborhood kids as they take part in all the races you recall from your childhood—everything from sprints to burlap sack races. The kids' laughter and the cheering of parents and grandparents sounds a note of simple pleasures and civility you might be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the valley. (SD)
E-ClubHouse.org/Sites/BinghamC

Best Earworm
"Stuck" by The Aces
What a fitting title for this poppy, summer road-trip kind of song that will be stuck in your head for days after listening to it. Worse things could happen, though. The Aces (formerly The Blue Aces) recently rebranded themselves with a more mature name and a sound, but the Utah County-based band has been killing it in the local music scene since their preteen days, and that experience totally shows. "Stuck," their debut single post-rebranding, is an earworm you won't mind. The band already won Best Pop Act in City Weekly's Best of Utah Music 2016, and they deserve another shout-out because, no doubt, these ladies are going somewhere, and fast. (AH)
TheAcesOfficial.com

Best Empty Bottle Upcycling
ZaxWorx
Recycling glass is one way to keep empty bottles out of the landfill; another way is to turn those empties into practical works of art that you make use of every day. Zachary Martinez got the concept from an Etsy purchase, but thought he could improve upon the rims of the glasses which, while not sharp-glass dangerous, seemed merely functional. Try a tumbler made from a Grey Goose Vodka bottle, or decorate a room with a hanging pendant light created from a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. (SR)
ZaxWorx.com

Best Nerdy Podcast that Isn't Fueled by Alcohol
Hold 322
A member of the DefenMedia podcast family, Hold 322 brings together some of SLC's smartest geeks and knowledgeable nerds to discuss and get excited over the geeky items of the week. JC Carter, J.M. Bell, Robert Easton, Thom Floyd, Robert J. Defendi and Holly Braithwaite hold off on the usual trend of podcast drinking until the end of the program, as they gush over films, comics, video games, literature, television and more. Be ready for spoilers smothered with love. (GS)
Hold322.DefenMedia.com

Best Group to be Divorced Around
Divorcée Café
Divorce sucks. No doubt about that. But Divorcée Café makes it a little better. On the first Wednesday of every month, local divorce coach Elif Ekin turns her 7th & Seventh Street Studio into a day-long hub of support services for those going through divorce. The list of specialists who attend is long, and fluctuates each month, but typically include a divorce lawyer, family therapist, financial consultant, health coach, massage therapist, acupuncturist, energy healer, card reader and hypnotist, among many others. And it's all free. As to why she does it, Ekin says she is all too familiar with the stress and emotional strain that comes with divorce. "If we can make the process just a little bit easier for someone else because of our own experiences, then our struggles and lessons will not have been in vain," she says. (AH)
645 E. 700 South, Salt Lake city, 801-674-7047, DivorceeCafeConversations.com

Best Eco-Friendly Date with Your Sweetie
Bike Prom
Prom just isn't prom anymore when you're out of high school. But there are still many who wish to relive those kind of moments, or experience them for the first time. In SLC we're lucky to have that kind of experience for anyone who wishes to do it, and all they need is a date and a bike. Starting in a local park and arriving at a giant dance somewhere in downtown SLC, the Bike Prom offers an old-school way of taking your date out on the town and getting in a memorable slow dance at the end. The seventh annual prom will happen this June. (GS)
BikeProm.com

Best Plant Pioneers
Glover Nursery
The massive 10-acre lot where Glover Nursery sits has been its home for more than 30 years, but the history of nurseries run by the Glover family members dates back to the 19th century, and the pioneering James Albert Glover, who was one of the earliest importers of non-native trees and shrubs to Utah. That tradition has continued through five generations of Glovers, providing a massive range of plants. Visit their blog for a monthly newsletter with wonderful tips on when to plant and how to care for anything you might be considering for your landscaping. (SR)
9275 S. 1300 West, West Jordan, 801-562-5496, GloverNursery.com

Best Outreach Programs for New Filmmakers
The Davey Foundation
Currently in its fourth year, The Davey Foundation works to provide emerging artists a program where they can learn and mature their skills in an effort to bring more original art to the masses. Named after the late actor/director/musician David Fetzer, the foundation showcases film festivals of work produced by aspiring directors, as well as offering grants in film and theatre to help fund future projects by extraordinary individuals. Fetzer's creative force lives on in these people, giving our city more art to be shared. (GS)
TheDaveyFoundation.org

Best Alternative to Milquetoast Theatrical Releases That's Not Netflix-and-Chill
The Salt Lake Film Society's Summer Late Nights
Art houses will always crush theater chains when it comes to quality films and special events, like the Salt Lake Film Society holds year-round. Especially during the summer, when you can see a classic film (Clerks, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner) every Friday and Saturday night, and at noon on Sundays. It satisfies cinephiles of all ages. Oldsters gets nostalgia, and younger movie buffs get to see the great films the way they were meant to be seen: On the big screen, with their little screens in their pockets and ushers to tell their friends to stop talking. Oh, yeah—a shout-out to the Cinemark Classic Movies Series for keeping the fun going year-round, even if they are corporate. (RH)
801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org

Best Old-School Show Always on The Go
Grassroots Shakespeare Co.
Hearkening back to the days when theater companies were still traveling countrysides like the circus, Grassroots Shakespeare brings the works of one of history's greatest playwrights all across Utah. Performing everywhere from grand theaters to high schools to public parks, you're given a taste of what it was like for classically trained actors did to make a living, while seeing a fabulously performed adaptation of King Lear or Romeo and Juliet. This isn't just works being read, it's live theatre being experienced. (GS)
707-722-7529, GrassrootsShakespeare.com

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Best Fun on Wheels
The Big Gay Fun Bus
It's big, it's loud and it's fun as all get-out. Billed as the "most raucous and irreverent charity trip in town," the Big Gay Fun Bus along with the Matrons of Mayhem host regular, feather boa clad daytrips to Wendover to get your gamblin' and rib buffet on (hey, if we're all going to hell anyway, we might as well hit all the bases). Tickets are $25 and sell out quick, so make sure to get in on the Jell-O-shot-infused fun early. Next one up is the "Winter Wonderland" trip on Saturday, Dec. 3, which is guaranteed to put the mistle in your toe. Ooh, is that a carrot in your pocket, drag queen Frosty, or are you just happy to see me? (EL)
BigGayFunBus.com

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Best Reason to Get Rid of your Backpack
Velo City Bags
If words like "double-stitched two-layered Cordura Bottom," and "18-ounce weather-proof floating vinyl liner" make you happy, then it's quite possible that a messenger bag, rucksack, roll top backpack or fanny pack made by Velo City Bags is in your future. These bags are ridiculously cool, and they're handmade right here in Salt Lake City by the company's founder, bag maker, designer and owner, Nathan Larsen. Stop into Velo's brick-and-mortar store on Pierpont Avenue, or catch Larsen with his wares at a local festival. Rather than guaranteeing his products in their fight against foul weather and such, Larsen ought to guarantee that anyone who looks closely at his bags will give the one they're wearing away so they can buy a Velo. (CF)
341 W. Pierpont Ave., Ste. 2, 385-202-4181, VeloCityBags.com

Best Aquatic Mammal Legend
The claim is that around 1875, ever-entrepreneurial James Wickham thought that if whales thrive in capacious bodies of saline water, why not dump a couple of the mammals in Utah's largest brine pool, the Great Salt Lake. And so, he successfully relocated two from the coast of Australia. In similarly headlined pieces, both daily newspapers have questioned the story's veracity. Delivering whales from the San Francisco bay to the Salt Lake Valley by rail would have been a Herculean endeavor, after all. That doesn't stop recurring whale-sighting rumors from surfacing, according to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, which posted this year a cheesy fact-or-fiction video online. The University of Utah includes a truncated version of the story on its biology department website's "About Us" section that concludes if whales were dumped into the Great Salt Lake, they probably died. A more comprehensive telling can be found in Lost Landscapes: Utah's Ghost Stories, Mysterious Creatures, and Aliens by local author Linda Dunning. (DWH)
12033 Lone Peak Parkway., Draper, 801-355-3474, TheLivingPlanet.com

Best Outdoor Sport you can Play Indoors
Topgolf
A sports bar is a sports bar is a sports bar—except when it's all about a single sport: golf. And a driving range is a driving range—except when you can do all the fun stuff you usually do on an actual golf course. Chief among those: In the third-floor bays, you can drink. And get this: You can do all the things you do after golf—like watch TV and eat—while you crank little white balls into big black nets in your own private bay. In addition, if you're not into golf, or you're just done swinging for the day, you can play pool, foosball, ball pong and Xbox Kinect games. (RH)
920 Jordan River Blvd., Midvale, 801-208-2600, Topgolf.com

Best Custom Bike Fenders
Venn Studio
In the winter of 2015, Matthew Sutton and Danielle Hadley recognized a serious gap in the bike marketplace: The options for bike fenders, as Matthew puts it, were "plain, black and [relatively] cheap on one end of the spectrum ... and expensive, handmade wood on the other." Their goal was to produce a stylish but inexpensive alternative, so they worked in their spare time toward a debut at the 2016 Craft Lake City DIY Festival. The colorful, custom-made resin fenders—produced from reclaimed materials—allow for a stamp of personality where bland practicality previously ruled. (SR)
VennStudio.com

Best Place to See Someone get Smacked with a Chair
UCW-Zero
For the professional wrestling fan who needs a taste of action and excitement in a live setting, UCW-Zero has been filling that void for nearly 15 years as Utah's biggest promotion. With a school and small arena run out of the Rose Park area, fans and athletes have the ability to watch weekly live shows featuring homegrown talent, as well as be able to train to become part of the organization. Make a sign and enjoy the spectacle every Saturday night. (GS)
47 Orange St., Ste. E2, Salt Lake City, 801-699-7977, UCWZero.com

Best Waste Management
Poochee Poo Bagg
Utah dog-owners love taking their canine friends into the beautiful local scenery; they're far less enamored of having to handle the fragrant packages those friends occasionally leave behind. It becomes a lot easier to deal with animal waste when you can wear it around your waist, in a stylish polyester pouch with a water-resistant interior for storing the stuff until you can get back home. And a second compartment provides a place for the scooper bags you need to take care of business. (SR)
PoocheePooBagg.com

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Best Party to Go to This Weekend
Phallic Food Party
Blame it on #EggplantFridays or, in this case, #ButternutSquashSaturdays, but there's something about phallic-shaped foods that gives local musician Jordan Fairbanks the giggles. Mention bananas and his face lights up; summer sausage and he almost begins to speak in tongues. So, the Phallic Food Party, taking place this Saturday at 9 pm at Metro Music Hall, was born. We're at Coffee Garden on 9th & 9th where he giddily shares the suggestive soirée's details. Cover charge is $6.66 ("Because, hail Satan," he says), with a 50-percent discount if you're dressed up as suggestive food. Fairbanks anticipates killer sets by the likes of Heathen Ass Worship and Zombiecock, video installations and a hot dog eating contest. "Last year's winner ate 20!" he beams as he eyes my éclair. (EL)
615 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-652-6543, Facebook.com/MetroMusicHall

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